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US Better-for-you Eating Trends Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Better-for-you Eating Trends market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Owen, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Most consumers report that they try to maintain a healthy diet at least some of the time, making better-for-you food and beverage claims potentially motivating to a wide audience. Still, while what’s healthy or better-for-you can mean different things to different consumers, there are overarching opportunities to highlight freshness, simplicity, and the emotional payoffs of healthy eating. John Owen
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

Covered in this report

Consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding foods positioned as healthy or better-for-you.

Key points:

  • Most consumers report making an effort to eat healthy
  • Motivations for healthy eating more likely to be general than specific
  • Young adults far more likely to see barriers to healthy eating

What you need to know

Most consumers report that they try to maintain a healthy diet at least some of the time, making better-for-you food and beverage claims potentially motivating to a wide audience. Still, while what’s healthy or better-for-you can mean different things to different consumers, there are overarching opportunities to highlight freshness, simplicity, and the emotional payoffs of healthy eating.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Most consumers report making an effort to eat healthy
            • Figure 1: Approaches to healthy eating, May 2018
          • Motivations for healthy eating more likely to be general than specific
            • Figure 2: Motivations for healthy eating, May 2018
          • Young adults far more likely to see barriers to healthy eating
            • Figure 3: Barriers to healthy eating, by gender and age, May 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Younger adults more likely to look for natural and organic
              • Figure 4: Health attributes sought, by age, May 2018
            • Opportunity to leverage emotional benefits of healthy eating
              • Figure 5: Attitudes toward healthy eating – Physical and emotional wellbeing, May 2018
            • Keep it simple
              • Figure 6: Attitudes toward healthy eating – Home cooking, ingredients, specialty diets, May 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Consumers see the health and environmental benefits of plant-based proteins
                • Restaurants across segments explore ways to incorporate healthier options
                  • Obesity remains a significant factor influencing food choices
                  • Market Perspective

                    • Consumers see the health and environmental benefits of plant-based proteins
                      • Figure 7: Reputation of plant-based proteins, any agree, by age, October 2017
                    • Rice, potato lead plant proteins consumed
                      • Figure 8: Interest in plant-based foods, October 2017
                    • Restaurants across segments explore ways to incorporate healthier options
                      • Quick service
                        • Fast casual
                          • Full service
                          • Market Factors

                            • Obesity remains a significant factor influencing food choices
                              • Food allergy reactions rising
                                • Hispanics, particularly Millennials, seek healthy foods
                                  • Figure 9: US population by Hispanic origin, 2017
                                • Diabetes, prediabetes numbers rise
                                  • Heart concerns associated with sodium
                                    • Figure 10: Percentage of deaths caused by heart disease, 2013
                                  • Updates to labeling regulations will give food shoppers more information
                                    • Changes to the Nutrition Facts label
                                      • GMO disclosures and labeling
                                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                        • As “all-natural” declines more specific claims gain traction
                                          • Making healthy easier
                                          • What’s Working?

                                            • As “all-natural” declines more specific claims gain traction
                                              • Gluten-free claims hold steady
                                                • Figure 11: Incidence of select health claims in US food product launches, 2013-18*
                                              • Making healthy easier
                                                • Refrigerated soups
                                                  • Figure 12: Launches of soup, by storage, shelf-stable, refrigerated, and frozen, 2014-17
                                                  • Figure 13: Multi-outlet sales of select growing refrigerated soup brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                • Frozen side dishes
                                                • What’s Struggling?

                                                  • Traditional diet/weight-loss brands struggle
                                                  • What’s Next?

                                                    • Back to balance: A common sense, nutrient dense, diet
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Most consumers report making an effort to eat healthy
                                                        • Motivations for healthy eating more likely to be general than specific
                                                          • Time, money, and taste form substantial barriers to healthy eating
                                                            • Freshness a top priority for health
                                                              • Strong associations with both physical and emotional wellbeing
                                                              • Approach to Healthy Eating

                                                                • Most consumers report making an effort to eat healthy
                                                                  • Figure 14: Approaches to healthy eating, May 2018
                                                                • Older adults more likely to adopt healthy eating habits
                                                                  • Figure 15: Approaches to healthy eating, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                              • Motivations for Healthy Eating

                                                                • Motivations for healthy eating more likely to be general than specific
                                                                  • Figure 16: Motivations for healthy eating, May 2018
                                                                • Emotional and lifestyle rewards especially compelling to young adults
                                                                  • Figure 17: Motivations for healthy eating – Wellbeing, self-esteem, energy, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                                • Weight loss most likely to be important to women aged 18-54
                                                                  • Figure 18: Motivations for healthy eating – Weight management, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                                • Disease prevention and management most compelling to older adults
                                                                  • Figure 19: Motivations for healthy eating – Prevention or management of disease/illness, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                                • In their words: Taking the long view
                                                                • Barriers to Healthy Eating

                                                                  • Time, money, and taste form substantial barriers to healthy eating
                                                                    • Figure 20: Barriers to healthy eating, May 2018
                                                                  • Young adults far more likely to see barriers to healthy eating
                                                                    • Figure 21: Barriers to healthy eating, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                                  • Those who alternate between healthy and unhealthy most likely to see barriers
                                                                    • Figure 22: Barriers to healthy eating, by approach to healthy eating, May 2018
                                                                  • In their words: Cost, time, taste, and temptation
                                                                  • Health Attributes Sought

                                                                    • Freshness a top priority for health
                                                                      • Figure 23: Health attributes sought, May 2018
                                                                    • Younger adults more likely to look for natural and organic
                                                                      • Figure 24: Health attributes sought, by age, May 2018
                                                                    • The strictest healthy eaters have the longest set of criteria
                                                                      • Figure 25: Health attributes sought, by approach to healthy eating, May 2018
                                                                  • Healthy Eating Behaviors

                                                                    • Purchases reflect intent to improve diet
                                                                      • Figure 26: Healthy eating behaviors, May 2018
                                                                    • Younger shoppers’ behaviors more likely to be in flux
                                                                      • Figure 27: Healthy eating behaviors, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                                  • Attitudes toward Healthy Eating

                                                                    • Opportunity to leverage emotional benefits of healthy eating
                                                                      • Keep it simple
                                                                        • Figure 28: Attitudes toward healthy eating, May 2018
                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                • Terms